extreme concern over the rising anti globalisation campaign gaining ground in
developed countries, posing a serious threat to the multilateral trading
system, India called upon the World Trade Organisation to reaffirm the
importance of rule based multilateral trading system as enshrined in the
Commerce Suresh Prabhu during his media interaction at the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina said
the WTO should also re-endorse the centrality of development in WTO negotiations
without introducing differentiation among developing countries:
Ministers of 164 countries are meeting at the MC11 against the backdrop of
rising anti-globalisation and challenges to the multilateral trading system.
India, he said is
looking forward to constructive engagement of all members for taking final
decisions in areas where specific mandates were provided at Nairobi.
should be on development at the WTO and not to be deflected based on aggregate
GDP figures. While in India we are proud of our GDP and growth rates of recent
years, propelled by innovative economic policies of my government, we cannot
ignore that India is home to more than 600 million poor people. Therefore, we
are legitimate demandeurs for special and differential treatment for developing
It is also
noteworthy that many developed countries of today have benefitted from long
periods of derogation from GATT rules in the area of agriculture and textiles.
India would like
to see an outcome in the permanent solution for public stockholding for food
security purposes. A successful resolution of this issue would send a strong
signal that trade openness and addressing hunger need not be in conflict.
As regards the
ongoing issue on the negotiating table of agricultural domestic support, we
need to be reminded that the agreed objectives of agriculture negotiations in the Doha Round,
called for continuation of the reform process in this area, rather than further
widening and perpetuating of the imbalance between developed and developing
countries. Any meaningful reform in agriculture must first seek to reduce the
disproportionately large subsidies of the developed countries.
differential treatment for developing countries is a very important part of the
WTO’s mandate and must be preserved. We are willing to engage on proposals that
recognize this right for all developing countries without exception.
cultivators and agricultural labourers together number over 250 million, more
than the total population of many countries. The total number dependent on
agriculture in one way or another is even higher, close to 600 million. Nearly
98 per cent of Indian farmers are low income or resource poor and most of them
are engaged in subsistence farming. Many of them have to deal with unfavourable
agro-climatic conditions, further compounded by climate change, of which India
is a victim. My government is committed to doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.
Our circumstances make it imperative for us to balance trade liberalisation
with the need to protect their livelihood.
We also attach
considerable significance to an effective and useable Special Safeguard Mechanism
that would provide a shield to farmers in developing countries from unfair
competition from subsidised imports. We look forward to MC 11 taking a final
decision on this issue.
that some progress has been made in the area of fisheries subsidies. We look
forward to a balanced outcome on this issue at MC 11 that preserves the policy
space for developing countries to support millions of their resource poor fish
workers who are depend on traditional fishing activity as a source of livelihood.
In the area of
services negotiations, India has engaged constructively and in an open manner
with the proponents of the domestic regulation disciplines. However, we believe
that DR issues in isolation will have little or no impact on trade in services.
We also need to address entry related ‘at the border measures’ for movement of
As regards new
issues that are sought to be introduced into the negotiating agenda of the WTO,
such as e-commerce, investment facilitation and MSMEs, in India's view agreeing
to these would be extremely onerous and would curtail our policy space to
implement appropriate development policies.
Further, while we
are not opposed to taking cognizance of change, we cannot ignore the legacy
issues of the Doha Round. Discussions on new issues are distracting attention
from priority areas for which mandates exist. India sees little rationale for
new issues when so many issues are awaiting resolution. The fact of the matter
is that new issues are yet to be fully understood by the membership in terms of
their scope, definitions and implications.
concerned at the inordinate delay in appointment of new members to the
Appellate Body. We need to collectively
and expeditiously resolve this impasse and also ensure that the Appellate Body
members retain their autonomy, without being influenced by the governments of
the member countries.
It is in the
collective interest of the WTO membership to preserve and revitalise the WTO.
Conference is a good occasion for concluding the unfinished agenda of the Doha
Work Programme and then examining other possible agenda for subsequent